Chief Learning Officer magazine is a trademark of Mediatec Publishing Inc. All clomedia.com and Chief Learning Officer magazine content Copyright 2013 MediaTec Publishing Inc. All Rights Reserved. It is illegal to copy, reproduce or publish any information contained on clomedia.com or in Chief Learning Officer magazine without express written permission from MediaTec Publishing Inc.
Why Customer Service Training Is Missing the Mark
Customer service initiatives often don’t pay off, or wear off too soon. It’s time to stop training employees in customer service and start educating them for sustainable results.
In an age when a customer’s unhappy experience with a company can go viral mere minutes after it occurred — as customers regularly take to the Internet to publicize their great and not-so-great experiences — most companies understand the importance of providing superior customer service. That’s why they budget hundreds of thousands of dollars for customer service initiatives and put new and old employees through frequent training programs. But far too often the results of these programs are only average and short-lived. The problem is that companies are just training their employees to deliver customer service when they should be educating them instead.
Training plays an important role when a defined, job-specific function is taught. For example, it is completely appropriate to provide employees with safety and security training where specific procedures and protocols are needed. Whether the training is provided online, in a classroom or on the job, leaders must know an employee has been properly trained to do the right thing at the right time, every time.
However, the problem with training employees in customer service is that the situations service providers must respond to are often unprecedented and unusual. Whether it’s because of new technology, because customers are more sophisticated from doing their own research or because a company’s competition is providing more sophisticated offers, leaders can’t anticipate all the possible issues that their customers will bring to their service providers. If a learning leader’s focus is on trying to train employees to know the right procedures and do the right thing in all these situations, the learning leader will be forever behind an accelerating curve.
The differences between training and educating result in two distinctly different types of service. Trained employees will usually provide customers with consistent and scripted service. They’ll do what is needed to fulfill normal customer requests, but they may not make the customer feel good about the company in the process. Training someone to make another person feel good is like trying to create a gourmet meal with a charcoal grill, a hamburger spatula and two plastic forks — it’s the wrong approach with an insufficient set of tools.
Leveraging the Latest in Brain Science to Deliver the Next Generation of E-Learning
May 29th 1:00pm - 2:00pm CT
2013 CLO Breakfast Club, Boston
September 12th - 12th, 2013The Westin Copley Place
Fall 2013 CLO Symposium
September 30th - October 2nd, 2013Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa
Get the Magazine